Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Sunday, April 10, 2016

Leave Politics Out of Stories

During this political year, I have been amazed by all the hatred spewing from all the mouths of people and media outlets towards various candidates. Totally amazed. So much hatred. And in my opinion, this hatred is mostly unfounded. I can't stand hatred. Can't understand it. A lot of it is phony. Phony hatred, meaning the haters really don't hate, but they want to use hatred to influence others to vote the way they want them to vote. I think that's deceitful. I guess you can call it deceitful hatred.

This is not a political blog, and I have mostly kept politics out of my books. But what do my books contain that might be considered political? Well, my two favorite books are about killing. Vengeful killing. It's not political, I don't think, but it does connect with capital punishment. Meaning killers who kill people are killed as a result of their killing. The main character Trent Smith has no qualms about killing killers who kill with impunity. That means he doesn't worry about those killers who have already been convicted and sentenced. He kills only those killers who escaped justice. They don't escape him. But he doesn't use guns. He doesn't even believe in guns. He hates all guns. He even wishes they had never been invented.

So those two things, believing in capital punishment, but not believing in guns, is smack dab in the middle of what might be considered Liberalism and Conservatism. Meaning Liberals don't believe in capital punishment, and they don't believe in guns. Whereas Conservatives do believe in capital punishment and they do believe in guns. So there you have it. Trent Smith is half one and half the other. Smack dab in the middle.

As for The Vase. It's a comprehensive story, meaning it presents the good and the bad of both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The main character is a Muslim. Agnostic is what he really is. But he's already lost a son who was radicalized by the fundamentalists of the region. And there are the IDF captains, both former and current. But they are agnostics, too. But you do have the Zionist, who also has lost a son to the violence of the region. You have it all. Everything represented, and the book itself does not take sides. The story is straightforward, and the reader can conclude for him/herself what to believe once it's over and done with. I thought I'd have more input from that story from readers, but it seems the readership of that book is very slow. Maybe it just takes more time to catch on. I am curious for comments to come forward, seeing as to the controversial subject matter.

John Dunn is not political. However, the story is connected to Apartheid. It takes place in the 1800s when Apartheid was taking shape. It wasn't called that yet, but the story contains the events that make Apartheid happen in the years following the story. The John Dunn story is a true story. And even though John Dunn was a part of the Zulu nation, he too is another example of just how my stories split Liberalism and Conservatism right down the middle. I say that because even though Dunn was a member of the Zulu nation, he was forced to fight on the side of the British during the Anglo-Zulu War. And he did contribute to the English victory over the Zulus.

Yet Dunn retained his place amongst the Zulu people even after that war. Once the dust settled, he went back to his Zulu wives and his life in Zululand. He continued to raise his one hundred plus half Zulu children to the best of his ability, and oversaw the territory that he held in Zululand after the war. He was a perfect example of a man who was able to manage the events that were out if his control to the best of his interests and the interests of those who depended on him. It's really an extraordinary story. More so because it's a true story. Which makes it all the more interesting. And perhaps the most political of them all. Without meaning to be.

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